Tragedy in Lucifer's Ending
With the finale of Lucifer upon us, I need to talk about the ending and process my own feelings regarding it.
If you were a fan of the ending, then I am happy for you. You do not have to read this and engage with criticism about something you liked. And while I enjoyed the majority of Season 6, I cannot get behind this ending.
Because it's tragic.
Lucifer's entire character arc was informed by the trauma of abandonment and solitude. He was cast out by his family, and spent countless eons alone, in Hell. The entire show was about him coming to Earth, making connections, learning to care about others, and choosing his own path and his own family.
So in the end, Lucifer doesn't get to live on Earth. He has to leave the woman he loves and the family he has created, and return to Hell. He doesn't get to choose his own path, or determine his own destiny, or decide who he wants to spend his time with.
It's heartbreaking. He didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay on Earth with Chloe and their daughters. He wanted wonder, and instead he had everything ripped away from him. There are layers upon layers of tragedy and trauma in this act; the more you think about it, the darker it gets.
Meanwhile, Chloe is terrified of being abandoned. Every relationship, whether platonic or romantic, has ended up where she is left alone to be the strong one and carry one. Lucifer was the first person she let in in a long time, and he hurt her numerous times by leaving. All she wanted was for him to stay with her, to break this pattern, to be someone who she could trust herself to be vulnerable with.
And what does she get? Lucifer has to leave her alone to raise two children by herself. She has to lie to their daughter so Rory can grow up to time travel and complete the time loop. Chloe spent the rest of her life stuck, alone, all but waiting to die so she could finally be reunited with him.
And for what? Why?
Because Rory asked them to. Because she asked Lucifer to leave, and asked Chloe to perpetuate the lie. She mangled her own timeline by interacting directly with everyone, created a paradox by sharing the date and location of Lucifer's disappearance, and destroyed her own parents' chance of happiness with each other. And Lucifer sacrificed his entire life on Earth because he loved her, because she requested it, even though he begged her not to ask this of him.
I'm struggling to make sense of this ending, either emotionally or narratively. It's certainly not fulfilling. The cast and writers have talked about the ending as "bittersweet", but that's not the word I would use. Sure, Lucifer and Chloe are reunited at the very end on a hopeful note, but their ending is tragic.
And this tragedy is pointless. There was no reason to split Lucifer and Chloe up, and have them separated on different planes of existence for the rest of Chloe's mortal life. It was pain just so that there was pain, because having a happy ending isn't good enough anymore; it's too boring, too predictable. Lucifer and Chloe living out the rest of her life on Earth, content in their lives after all their hardships, wouldn't have been edgy enough.
Rory says at the beginning of the season that Lucifer will leave, and then makes sure that happens. In a show that's supposed to be about choice, all choice is stripped away so that everyone can perpetuate the time loop. I kept waiting for there to be a clever twist, like maybe Lucifer was actually killed, or Rory was really a villain, or Lucifer sacrificed himself to save the integrity of a crumbling universe. But no: in the end, the paradox is inevitable, and nobody gets to be happy.
It didn't have to be this way. They could have changed it, kept the whole kid from the future plot and everything, and still salvaged a happy ending. We didn't need pain for the sake of having pain. Here are some thoughts on small fixes that wouldn't have ended in misery:
The Alternate Universe: Rory time travelling caused the creation of an alternate universe. (Those are all the rage these days.) She returns to her universe, which is preserved, but the Lucifer and Chloe travel down a separate path that was altered by her arrival and actions.
Self-Sacrifice: Rory realizes that meddling with her timeline means that she has changed the future. She knows that travelling back will make her blink out of existence. She does it willingly, sacrificing herself but knowing that she will grow up with her parents together.
Instead, we get pain for no compelling reason. Lucifer reforming Hell, working within the system to free people from it, is a great idea. And I love the idea of Chloe joining him after her death and helping him free damned souls from their guilt. That final scene is one glimmer of something good in an otherwise depressing ending.
But Lucifer didn't need his daughter to show up from the future to help him realize the system was broken and needed change; he already knew that long before she showed up. He didn't need to abandon his family and be stuck in Hell for the rest of Chloe's life; he could have split his time, just like Amenadiel did. He could have helped the souls in Hell and been there for all his daughter's birthdays and Christmases, just like he wanted to be.
The overwhelming feeling I have for the ending is this: it was cruel. It was cruel to separate Lucifer and Chloe for the rest of her life on Earth. It was cruel to have Lucifer go back to Hell alone. It was cruel to make Lucifer leave Chloe alone and in limbo for the rest of her life. In a show that was all about hope and change, it ends on cruelty.
And that's tragic.
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Okay so I’ve been discussing S6 with a lot of people on the FH server but I want to put this post out there and get it off my chest so I can focus on the positives.
Feel free to add to the discussion, whether you liked the finale or not. All I ask is that people are respectful.
If you have not finished S6, do not read this post as it contains multiple spoilers. You have been warned.
Let me preface this post with two things: 1) I enjoyed the majority of S6, I think it was very well done for the most part. I loved the humor and I loved most of the endings for the characters; 2) I went into this season as someone who adamantly did not want a Deckerstar baby and yet, here I am, arguing that the narrative should have allowed him to stay and raise her.
So Chloe and Lucifer’s ending. This is the main issue I have with this season and it sucks because it overshadows so much of the good, not only for the season but the show in its entirety. Because on a very basic level, this ending for them was not only cruel, it made no fucking sense. I love a good bittersweet ending or even a tragic ending, if done well, but this? This ain't it.
First off, there was so much to deal with this season even without the inclusion of Rory. We had the God storyline, we had hell reform on the table, getting Dan into heaven, not to mention wrapping up all the individual character arcs (and frankly, they should have followed-up on Michael). There was enough there for the writers to work with without throwing in a surprise daughter from the future.
SO what is Rory’s purpose narratively? Besides drama. Well, the writers want you to believe its leading Lucifer to his ‘calling’ but I call bullshit on that. Why? Because Lucifer already knew that hell was broken, that people were capable of change and that everyone deserved a chance at redemption. He said it himself to Michael at the end of S5 (which is why its so frustrating that they never follow up with him this season). Hell, we see it again with Jimmy Barnes in 6.03, the idea that even the worst of people may not deserve an eternity of misery and torture. So Lucifer could have reached that conclusion without Rory.
What is her narrative purpose then? She’s a plot device, really. Her character is 1) a tool to set up the Deckerstar separation angst and 2) a means to ensure that Lucifer ends up the same as his father. Now I don’t know WHY the writers thought making Lucifer become his father by abandoning his own daughter was a good idea but they did and I’m spitting mad. Let’s deal with the separation first though and what it means for both Chloe and Lucifer.
The fact that everyone else got a happy ending but Lucifer and Chloe, the main characters, are once again forced to sacrifice their happiness and their chance at being together grinds my fucking gears. We’ve been here so many times before (S4 finale comes to mind), why do they have to have to suffer once again? Why do they need to ‘earn their happy ending’, as the writers said, through loneliness and suffering? Its absolute bullshit.
‘Oh it was for their daughter’. I’m not buying it. First of all, why should a concept like time travel, which was only introduced in the final season determine the endgames of these characters we’ve been following for over 5 years? Second, why even perpetuate the time loop? Why not break it so that Rory (and Trixie. Remember her? The little girl who literally just lost her father and was mad at Lucifer for leaving just last season) could have a better life, a happy childhood, one with both her parents? We’ve already stated how she wasn’t necessary to Lucifer finding his calling as the seeds for Hell reform has already been planted. And why should the audience take at face value that she knows with absolute certainty the rules of time travel?
Let me make something clear. When it comes to writing things like magic and time travel, which often have rules, the writers make the laws. If they decide on a hard and fast rule that somehow prevents a character from doing something, that is a deliberate choice. So the writers could have easily chosen to play into the free will vs. fate debate and had free will come out on top. But they chose not to.
No, the writers made it so that Chloe, who was terrified that she would be abandoned by Lucifer once again, was indeed left alone to raise two little girls on her own. They made it so that Lucifer, a character who's been severely traumatized by his own abandonment, perpetuates the cycle of trauma by abandoning his own daughter even though it’s his deepest desire to watch her grow up. Not to mention he ends up alone in Hell for millennia once again, separated from his friends and family.
Now some of you might argue, ‘well at least they reunited in the end’ and I’ll admit I was a little pacified at the notion that they would see each other once again. But the idea that ‘it was just temporary, only the rest of Chloe’s mortal life’ is frankly jarring. You only get ONE mortal life and as the idea of reincarnation has not been introduced in the narrative, the fact that Chloe has to go through it all alone is incredibly depressing because it means the rest of her life is spent wanting, waiting for the love of her life. Humans change so much but with this ending, Chloe is essentially kept static, unchanging.
Lucifer, similarly, is relegated back to a place that caused him millennia of misery and pain. His worst fear is realized and he has become his father, his story foretold with no room for his own choices. He’s grown and changed but he gets to reap none of the benefits. Frankly, I was okay with Lucifer stepping down from being God because I believed there were ways he could help even without that title. But then, why does Hell reform have to be a full-time job? Why can Amenadiel be God and still be there for his family? Why isn’t Lucifer afforded the same opportunity?
What Rory asks of them is incredibly selfish and damaging not only for them, herself but for Trixie too. She loses out on a father figure with Lucifer’s absence (and ugh, I’m so mad they gave all those family bonding scenes to Rory instead of Trixie. I know a lot of it was bc Scarlet was busy but I wanted Step-Devil shenanigans!)
Anyways, my point is if they were going to get us attached to the idea of Lucifer having a daughter, then they should have allowed him to raise her. He should have been better than his father.
Because what has been the purpose of this entire journey if not Lucifer growing, healing, allowing people in, finding a family, a home?
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